Admission of vehicles to road traffic

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The approval of vehicles for public road traffic ( colloquially street approval ) is officially regulated in all countries for certain vehicles and therefore an approval procedure by the competent approval authority as a sovereign act .


A distinction must be made between the type approval and the vehicle-specific road approval (registration of the individual vehicle including all associated legal transactions).


Registration certificate part II
Official seal of the procurement
office of the Federal Ministry of the Interior on a German license plate

In Germany, "vehicles and their trailers that are to be put into operation on public roads [...] have to be approved for use by the responsible authority (licensing authority)". An application from the person entitled to dispose (owner) of the vehicle is required for approval. Approval takes place “through the allocation of an official registration number”.

The details of the approval process for "vehicles with a design-related maximum speed of more than 6 km / h and [...] their trailers" have been regulated in the vehicle approval ordinance since March 1, 2007 and were previously in the road traffic approval regulations .

In the event of a move, a vehicle must be re-registered immediately.


Responsible for the registration of most motor vehicles are the motor vehicle registration authorities as lower administrative authorities within the framework of order management for the federal government . Some of them have special tasks: The registration authorities of Berlin, Hamburg and the capitals of the federal states permit official vehicles from state bodies , the registration authorities of Berlin and Bonn permit official vehicles of federal bodies , the diplomatic corps and privileged international organizations - albeit the vehicles own distinctive signs are assigned.

The predominant responsibility of municipal registration offices is - notwithstanding this - exercised by federal authorities for the registration of service vehicles of certain highest and upper federal authorities and privileged international organizations; for the official vehicles of the Federal Police and the Federal Agency for Technical Relief by the Procurement Office of the Federal Ministry of the Interior , for the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration through its water and shipping directorates, for the official vehicles of the Bundeswehr and the international military headquarters established on the basis of the North Atlantic Treaty , which have their regular location in Germany through the Bundeswehr Motor Vehicle Center (ZKfWBw) in Mönchengladbach - Rheindahlen .

Until the 1990s, different regulations also applied to the Deutsche Bundesbahn and Deutsche Bundespost .


The prerequisite for approval is a type approval ( EU or Federal Motor Transport Authority ) or an expert opinion from an officially recognized expert for motor vehicle traffic (aaS) in accordance with Section 21 of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations in order to obtain an individual operating license .

In addition, proof of liability insurance must be provided in the form of an electronic insurance confirmation. Until February 2008, it was a two-part insurance confirmation card , the so-called double card , for which the registration office forwarded a copy to the insurer.

Result of the approval

With the approval, the license to operate the motor vehicle on public roads, paths and places is granted. This is going through

documented. The vehicle and owner data including the registration number and the corresponding administrative data are stored in the local register at the registration office

  • to the central vehicle register of the Federal Motor Transport Authority ;
  • in the case of vehicles subject to compulsory insurance, via the Federal Motor Transport Authority and the German Insurance Association to the insurance company responsible for vehicle insurance;
  • for vehicles subject to vehicle tax
    • (until the end of 2013) to the tax office responsible for the administration of the vehicle tax,
    • (since 2014) via the Federal Motor Transport Authority to the main customs office responsible for administering vehicle tax


Since October 1, 2005, EU-wide uniform documents have been issued for new registrations or changes of owner.


There are a number of vehicles that do not require a registration, but require an operating permit. These include B. mopeds , mopeds and trailers behind motorcycles. Some of these vehicles must have their own registration number (e.g. light motorcycles , trailers for sports purposes, certain self-propelled machines ) - although they do not require registration .

Approval drives

According to Section 10 (4) of the Vehicle Registration Ordinance, journeys that are related to the registration process are, in particular, journeys to affix the stamp sticker and return journeys after removing the stamp sticker, as well as journeys to carry out a general inspection , safety inspection or an examination of the engine management and emission control system within a registration area (and an adjoining district) with an unstamped license plate are permitted if the registration authority has assigned one in advance and the journeys are covered by the motor vehicle liability insurance. The clause used there reads: “Also applies to journeys with unstamped license plates according to Section 23 Paragraph 4 Clause 7 of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations.” This cover letter from the insurance company does not replace the prior assignment of the license plate by the registration office. The content of the previous allocation of a label largely corresponds to the final approval; all documents required for regular admission must be submitted. Approval drives without license plates (canceled or not) or expired export or short-term license plates are not permitted. Trips without authorization are regularly punishable violations of the compulsory insurance law and the tax code .


European Union

For the registration of a vehicle registered in another EU country different deadlines apply from country to country. Even after moving within the EU, you must register a vehicle with you in the country of your new place of residence. Vehicles that are registered in another EU country and are temporarily used privately in Germany are exempt from domestic vehicle tax under certain circumstances in accordance with Directive 83/182 / EEC. When using a vehicle with a foreign registration, proof of residence and a valid inspection certificate for technical inspection must always be carried with you.


In Austria , the competences of the official registration offices were transferred to the private motor vehicle insurance companies, including the issuing of license plates.

After bringing in a vehicle from Germany, this must be re-registered in Germany; A vehicle registered abroad can legally be used for up to one month after it has been brought into Germany. This period does not apply to vehicles that are not permanently located in Germany; A permanent location in Germany is assumed if the vehicle is used for commuting or everyday errands. After one month after bringing it into Germany, the foreign registration is then revoked and the vehicle is no longer registered for traffic.

Switzerland and Liechtenstein

The approval of vehicles for road traffic is regulated in the Traffic Licensing Ordinance (VZV). Technical requirements for vehicles so that they can be registered can be found in the Ordinance on Technical Requirements for Road Vehicles (VTS). The regulations of both countries are largely identical in content: Liechtenstein adopted the Swiss regulations (legal alignment).

See also


  • Bernd Huppertz: Vehicle registration . Stuttgart u. a. Boorberg, 2007, 2nd edition. ISBN 978-3-415-03847-9
  • Tino Schuppan, Jörg Penning-Poggenbeck: eGovernment in vehicle registration. Conception for implementation (= KWI project reports; 2). Municipal Science Institute, University of Potsdam 2007 ( full text )
  • Bernhard Zunner: Practical knowledge of vehicle registration . Neuwied, Luchterhand 2007, ISBN 978-3-472-06872-3

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. § 1 of the Road Traffic Act
  2. § 1 of the Vehicle Registration Ordinance , which contains implementing regulations issued in accordance with § 6 Paragraph 1 of the Road Traffic Act and § 7 of the Compulsory Insurance Act
  3. Register a vehicle: when is it necessary? In: Verivox , accessed November 8, 2019 .
  4. a b § 46 Paragraph 3 Vehicle Registration Ordinance and Appendix 3 to Article 8 Paragraph 1 Clause 5 Vehicle Registration Ordinance.
  5. ADAC info
  6. a b Car registration in another EU country. In: September 2, 2019, accessed November 8, 2019 .
  7. Council Directive of March 28, 1983 on tax exemptions within the Community for the temporary importation of certain means of transport (83/182 / EEC)
  8. Use of a vehicle with a foreign license plate in Austria. In: The Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKO), April 19, 2019, accessed on November 8, 2019 .